“And as I said its part of the job perks. You only need to cover the utilities.”
How was I supposed to turn down his offer? Living in this place would be like a dream came true and the money I didn’t need to spend on rent could be put back for my education. “What if you fire me?” The thought suddenly filled my mind and brought me out of the dreaminess of how easy this all seemed.
“If things don’t work out for you then we’ll sit down and discuss another arrangement. Regardless, I’d give you at least ninety days to find something else. I believe that’s only appropriate.”
“This is really generous.” I couldn’t stop from looking around. Part of me wanted to throw caution to the wind and stop worrying because I really was enamored with my surroundings. There was still a little voice in the back of my mind that said none of this seemed realistic.
“I’ll give you the rest of the week to move in and we can work on your job presentation on your off nights.”
That comment sent up all kinds of red flags until I remembered he’d said on more than one occasion he wasn’t interested in me outside of a professional relationship. Call me stupid but I nodded my head. Worst case scenario in my mind was in a few months I’d have to look for another apartment.
He lifted a set of keys. Without hesitation he removed one and handed it to me. “All the utilities are paid up until the end of the month. You will have a payday before they come up again but let me know if there’s anything you can’t handle.”
“Thank you Mr. Ross, I can’t tell you how excited I am to move in here.” I was ecstatic. In two weeks my life had went from desperation to finally feeling like I was making progress. The worry that had been eating away at me for the first time was fading away.
Moving into my new condo was an experience unlike any other. Ashley, my best friend who worked at the coffee shop with me, hadn’t stopped talking about how lucky I was since we started carrying boxes in. Between her boyfriend Jimmy, and the two of us, we had what little I was bringing into the new place upstairs in a few hours.
“I’m glad you found a place to stay. If the dorms allowed roommates you know I’d have asked you to move in.” Ashley put down the last of the cardboard carriers before plopping down on the couch.
“Maybe by next year I’ll be joining you on campus. This place is really great though.” I sat down with her and Jimmy flopped down on the adjoining chair.
“I don’t know why you’d want to leave this place and move into the dorms. There’s no space at all and guests have to leave by ten.” Jimmy popped the top on a can of soda and made himself comfortable.
“You’re just pissed because you can’t spend the night with me.” Ashley grinned and grabbed the can from his hand taking a sip.
I watched their playful banter and grinned. “Trust me I’d rather be with you guys there. This job may just be my ticket to making that dream a reality.”
The doorbell rang and I quickly stood up and walked the few feet to answer it. A delivery man stood there impatiently. I hadn’t ordered anything and his arms seemed loaded down with food. “I’m sorry but I think you have the wrong place.”
“Are you Laura Burns?” He gave a tired sigh and glanced down at the receipt then up at me again.
“That’s me, but I didn’t order anything.”
“If you’ll let me in I can sit this stuff down. There’s a note included with the order.” He rolled his eyes and shifted from foot to foot, reminding me that his arms were full.
Opening the door I let him walk in and motioned to the island bar in the kitchen. He placed the food down and I felt my stomach rumble at the enticing scents filling the room. I’d never ordered from the place before so I had no idea what they served.
The disgruntled delivery guy handed me the note and turned to quickly walk out the door. “Just a minute!”
I tried to stop him but he seemed determined to leave. Shaking my head at his rudeness, I unfolded the note and gaped at the words. “I wasn’t sure what you liked so I ordered a few different items. I hope you enjoy your new home.” It was signed simply, “Taylor Ross.”
“Damn! The guys feeding you too? Is there something you’re not telling me?” Ashley grabbed the note out of my hand and looked at me accusingly.
I laughed out loud at her assumption. Yeah, cause I could be doing something with a man like him. I guess the rich and famous do housewarming stuff.” With a shrug I started unpacking the bags of food.
This definitely wasn’t Chinese. Opening the platters of steak, shrimp, and other various entrées, I almost drooled. There was even a bottle of wine and I snickered. I wasn’t old enough to drink yet.
“Hell this Ross guy sounds pretty cool.” Jimmy took the bottle of wine and unscrewed the top. Thankfully it didn’t have a cork because I didn’t own a corkscrew. He took a deep gulp straight from the bottle and Ashley and I both groaned.
“There are these things called cups.” Punching him playfully in the arm, Ashley glared at him.
“Hello! Nothing’s been unpacked yet.” He took another drink, and handed the bottle over to me.
I wiped the top off with my sleeve before taking a tentative sip. Ashley and I had snuck our share of alcohol before but four dollar wine didn’t compare to whatever red liquid this was. I was used to overly sweet, cheap stuff and this was almost bitter. “I think I’ll stick with pop.”
Ashley grabbed the bottle and took a sip. “It’s definitely fancy, but not bad. We started dishing food out on the paper plates included and dug in. The wine might be crap but the mouthwatering temptation of the steak was definitely better than what we picked up at the supermarket. Since I didn’t have to worry about rent, I’d used a little of my savings to fully load up the kitchen.
While we stuffed our faces, Ashley grilled me about my new boss. I explained that I was still learning about the company but enjoyed some of the cool perks like the clothing allowance. As far as describing him, I left it at he was an attractive man.
“Holy hell girl you get clothes and an apartment with this gig? I’m working for the wrong people.”
“For the most part I feel completely out of my league. Not to mention that he hired me as some trophy for his arm at parties. I mean honestly can you see me fitting in with high society?” I took another bite of the delicious fare and almost moaned in appreciation.
“You don’t give yourself enough credit. You’re gorgeous, smart and treat everyone around you with respect. I bet you could teach those snobs a few things.”
Jimmy chimed in with agreement. “If I wasn’t head over heels in love with Ashley I’d be pounding down your front door.”
Blushing at their compliments I shook my head. “I have no idea how to relate to Mr. Ross. If the rest of his clients are anything like him, I’m pretty much screwed.”
“See that’s what you need to work on. You’ve got no self-confidence. He obviously finds you attractive or he wouldn’t ask you to do the job. Just give them that smile of yours and his people will be tripping over their feet to make you happy.” Ashley continued indulging in her meal like it was the last one she’d ever eat.
I knew arguing with her was pointless, so we continued eating and chatted about our week. By the time we finished lunch I felt like I needed to run for a few hours to burn off all the calories. Ashley had night classes so after clean-up she and Jimmy left me alone in my new place.
The boxes were calling to me even though I was so full I wanted to take a nap. I decided to unpack and then give in to that temptation. Since the condo was furnished all I really had was my personal items and what my mother had left for me in the kitchen of our old house.
I couldn’t believe this was really my home now. Whatever good luck had come my way, I was thankful for it. I finished with the work then took a quick shower. My new bed was screaming for me to try it out and I decided to give in.
Ashley and I had stayed up late last night packing and after our early morning start I was truly exhausted. When my head found the pillow I was out in less than five minutes. I don’t know if it was all the work of moving in or my nervousness about starting full time with Mr. Ross in a few days, but my dream was interesting.
Resting in a lounge chair on an isolated beach I watched as he walked toward me. His chiseled abs stole my breath away and the carefree smile on his face made me ache. Holding out a tropical drink he lowered to his knees in the sand and lifted it to my lips.
My heart raced as I sipped the fruity concoction then nearly stopped when he replaced the glass with his lips. Lifting my arms, I wrapped them around his neck enjoying the taste of him. My nipples stiffened painfully through the thin fabric of my bathing suit. Rubbing them against his hard chest, I continued to devour his flavor as our tongues dueled. His large hand moved the top of my bikini over and cupped the aching weight of my breast. Gasping at the pleasure, I arched upward wanting to feel more of the delight his touch gave.